Friday, June 24, 2011

The well water

We started thinking our well water was tasting poorly a month or so ago. I inspected our 30 inch round shallow well and all seemed ok. I cleaned the well using bleach. The water never did taste of bleach as it must have all dissipated or been diluted too much by our reservoir. The taste improved but was not as it should be.

So this time, two weeks later, I dug down a foot to the 1000 gallon reservoir lid and inspected the reservoir. All seemed clean and the water was nice and clear. It has been 11 years since I have looked inside the reservoir.

I dumped 4 cups of bleach in the full reservoir and 2 cups of bleach in the full well. Then I closed the valve between the well and reservoir and started draining both using both pumps dumping the water through 5/8 hoses without any nozzle. The well was drained to the upper shutoff float after 20 minutes. I added another 1.5 cups of bleach and hosed down the walls of the well real good with the bleached well water.

The well is quite slow in recovery but always has water. At one time it had a recovery of 1.3 gallons a minute. This equals more than 60 gallons an hour and with the reservoir the well provides plenty of water for our home.

After 2 hours and 20 minutes the reservoir was down to maybe a foot of water remaining. I don’t want to drain it below the water pickup pipe or the system would loose the pump prime. The way the plumbing is configured if it looses a prime you almost need to wait until the reservoir is half full before you can start the priming process. In the last 20 years I don’t think we have ever lost a prime. We did loose it a couple times early on when the float switches were being adjusted.

I added two cups of bleach to both the well and reservoir and washed down the reservoir with the hose using the bleached reservoir water. This water turned almost muddy brown much to my surprise!

I opened the valve between the well and reservoir and now am just waiting for the particulates to settle out. I could have emptied the reservoir one more time but we have been gone some. If I would have emptied the well it would have cleaned the particulates out earlier.

Now 3 days later barely can smell the bleach in the house water and there is a slight turbidity in the water. Hopefully the taste will be back to its usual quality which I believe to be superior to the bottled water that is purchased at the store.

The water is purified by an Ultra Violet lamp so as long as the turbidity is gone the water is good as far as bacteria is concerned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

1975 Dryer repair

Looks like our 1975 dryer is working as designed (almost). It took 15 minutes to get to the problem which was a bad control switch (timer). I priced new switches and the price ranged from $208 to $150. If I sent our switch in and they could rebuild they would likely charge $74 or for $20 more I could get an immediate rebuild but would still need to send mine in. (The original part is no longer made so they have substitutes that fit, they say.

The dryer has been an excellent machine. It is a Maytag model kde407 series 01. As I understand it moves a lot of air and does not get the clothes too warm while drying which makes it good on the clothes and efficient also, as moving air is cheap compared to heating air. The unit is rated at 4800 watts which means it could draws 20 amps at 240 volts. The spinning motor runs on just 120 volts. There is a heat temperature switch which I suspect cycles the heating element on and off keeping the air at a controlled temperature. Then there is another overheat switch in case of a malfunction. I am pessimistic a new machine would be more efficient.

After taking the control switch apart I found that the two inch plastic disc had separated from the splinned metal shaft causing the failure. The disc controls all the length of times for the different drying cycles and also turns on the heat if needed for any cycle.

After a little research I decided to glue the plastic disc to the metal shaft using JB Weld. I let cure overnight. I was aware before gluing that I had no idea how to align the plastic disc to the shaft and if out of aligned it would skew all the settings shown on the control panel. Oh well it would have taken too long to research that out.

While putting switch back together I noticed the spring had sprung off somewhere! (Kids - oh phooey - probably can’t blame it on kids or grand kids.) I remember just where I had left that spring but likely when I vacuumed everything I must have tipped the spring out of place. So then comes out the 2 million candlepower flashlight to search the floor and shine in the small opening to see inside the dryer. No luck. So now another 10 minutes to get the back off. I found the spring easily and went ahead and vacuumed all out which included 39 cents, 3 allen wrenches and two buttons.

So, now all is back together and the dial is 10 degrees off and after testing I suspect everything is working. I did place a new mark on the base of the control dial indicating the setting point of the switch. A good thing is the little black mark I added does not seem to clash with the avocado green dryer.